Orange Canyon is one of the more well known and visited scuba diving sites on the west side of Grand Cayman. The dive site is near the west end of the island and is very close to several other well know sites, such as Big Tunnels. Orange Canyon is typical of the better sites on the west side. You start on the mooring ball and descend through a break in the coral and emerge on the wall around 100 feet.
The dive moves along the wall where you can look out into the blue for large pelagic species. You may see sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, turtles and more so make sure to always be looking into the blue. After you slowly make your way up the wall the dive finishes at the top of the wall where you can explore various coral, sponges, fish, eels and more.
Orange Canyon Rating: 3.14 out of 5
- Visibility – Moderate to good; sometimes can be a bit hazy
- Access – Easy, 15 to 25 minutes on a boat from the west side hotels
- Current – Moderate
- Depth to 100 ft / 30 m
- Reef health Hard / Soft Corals – Moderate
- Sponges / Plants – Moderate
- Marine species variety – Good
- Pelagics / Mammals / Turtles / Rays – minimal typically 1 to 3 sightings on a dive
Orange Canyon compares very well with other west side dive sites. However, I admit my favorites sites are on the north wall. That said, I definitely like this site and I dive it regularly. It is especially good when there are large “swarms” of Silversides on the site. There are also likely to be several Tarpon in the canyons as you explore the site.
Orange Canyon gets its name from the spectacular Elephant Ear Sponges that you can see throughout the dive. These colorful sponges make a great backdrop for photos and if you explore closely you will likely find various cleaner shrimps and blennys on the sponges. You will also likely find a cleaning station with a grouper exposing his gills for servicing. Orange Canyon can have a current and can have a good bit of turbidity but normally the visibility is quite good. The diver operator will check current and visibility before you enter the water so don’t worry.
I recommend taking this dive very slowly and actively looking around at the wide variety of marine life that can be found here.